“Bacne” is a portmanteu of “back” and “acne” and refers to the ever so common acne breakouts on your back and shoulders. Like acne on your face, back acne is generally caused and worsened by excess oil production in your skin, a buildup of dead skin cells, clogged pores, certain medications and supplements, and stress. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by dirty skin, worsened by cosmetics (use noncomedogenic makeup to prevent clogged pores) or greasy foods. A propensity for acne, in general, is also genetic.
The biggest problem with bacne is that it’s hard to reach, hard to manage, and without intervention, hard to get rid of. Here are fourteen tips that will help you win your war on back acne. Try one or more for a week or two and see the difference!
- Exfoliate. Dead skin cells naturally build up and form a layer which traps oils in the skin. Exfoliation is as easy as scrubbing your skin thoroughly, with or without exfoliating cleansers.
- Go swimming in the ocean. Submerge your back for about 10 minutes, then sit in the sun for about 15 minutes and let it dry. The salt in the ocean is a natural exfoliant and the sun dries out pimples. Be careful, however, too much sun, or sunburn, will make your acne WAY worse.
- Take showers after sweating. If you don’t shower, your clothes hold a layer of bacteria infested wetness on top of your skin. Acne loves that. Now you know why you have acne on your forehead when you wear that baseball cap so much?
- Use a dandruff shampoo with Zinc. Zinc is a metal that boosts the immune system (that’s why it’s in many cold remedies). It’s also a natural enemy of back acne (and acne of any kind).
- Watch your conditioner. Conditioner for your hair contains chemicals that hold in moisture and create pore-clogging problems. Wash the conditioner out of your hair thoroughly every time you shower, the wash your back last.
- Loofah. A loofah is a sponge that’s made from the dried fruit of the tropical luffa plant. It’s a bit rougher in texture than a regular sponge and is perfect for removing dead skin (exfoliation). Scrub your back with a loofah every time you shower. You don’t need to press hard, though, it’s not sandpaper. It’s a more delicate process. When you’re finished with the loofah sponge, wash it out thoroughly, too. It can harbor acne causing bacteria and defeat the whole purpose of your washing.
- Change your laundry detergent. Many detergents contain chemicals that can actually irritate sensitive skin. If you notice a sudden increase in your bacne, check to see if you are using the same detergent and fabric softener. That one little non-obvious change can make a big difference in the health of your skin.
- See a dermatologist. Sometimes oral antibiotics and other prescription gels, creams, or lotions work well. Try this after you’d exhausted other natural remedies, though, as virtually all of these prescribed medicines have some sort of side effect.
- Wash your sheets. Weekly. Really. It’s a pain, but there are all kinds of benefits for doing this, not the least of which that you’re not sleeping in all the bacterial that can irritate your skin and cause bacne.
- Get a massage. Stress doesn’t generally cause acne, but it can worsen acne. When you experience a lot of stress from school, family, work, or wherever, your body becomes imbalanced, including the hormones that control body systems that produce oils in your skin. Less stress helps those cells feel less stressed, and that gives you healthier skin. Massage helps reduce stress significantly and instantly. If you’re reading this an have never had a massage, be sure to choose a massage therapist carefully.
- Eat better. While oily foods aren’t really proven to increase acne, your diet can cause hormonal imbalance. Dairy product and carb-rich foods, like bread, bagels, and chips may trigger acne. Too much chocolate might too.
- Wear more cotton. Loose fitting cotton shirts are great for several reasons. They are soft and don’t rub against skin further irritating it. Cotton is also a “wicking fabric” meaning it soaks up micro-sized drops of oils from your pores that would normally pool on your skin.
- Steal a lemon and rub it on your skin. The acid in it will kill bacteria. It works very well, especially if you have sensitive skin. Smells good too.
- See an esthetician for a back acne treatment. This is perhaps the most effective method of controlling bacne. During your visit, a qualified esthetician will clean, exfoliate and rehydrate the skin on your back and shoulders. They’ll also perform “extractions”, the fancy word for carefully popping zits. They’ll use special tools or techniques to help make sure it’s not a painful experience. Most back acne treatments also include some kind of massage. After the treatment, the esthetician will recommend products or techniques for you to use at home between visits.